‘The Affordability of Utilities’ Services in the EU: Extent, Practice and Policy’

CCP’s Autumn Seminar Series continues on Friday 13th November with our very own David Deller (CCP) evaluating ‘The Affordability of Utilities’ Services in the EU: Extent, Practice and Policy‘. The seminar is based on an extensive research project that David has undertaken with Catherine Waddams (CCP) for the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE). The findings of the project are available here, and an abstract for the seminar can be found below.


The affordability of utilities (energy, water, telecoms and transport) is a major issue on European policy agendas. This seminar reports the key findings from a recent research project into this topic conducted for the Centre on Regulation in Europe. Key results are highlighted from the most comprehensive mapping of utility affordability in the EU yet compiled and analysis of household-level expenditure data from countries including the UK, France and the Republic of Ireland. Major findings are the stark differences in expenditure shares devoted to utilities between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Member States and the pitfalls of using high-level affordability metrics to evaluate the performance of policies designed to improve utility affordability. The empirical results will be complemented by overviews of different metrics that can be used to evaluate utility affordability and the effectiveness of policies used to tackle fuel poverty.


David’s presentation takes place from 13:00-14:00 in the Thomas Paine Study Centre, Room 1.03. 

CCP Seminar: Two Surprises in Railways Restructuring

The CCP is delighted to welcome Russell Pittman (Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice) to the Centre this week. He will be revealing ‘Two Surprises in Railways Restructuring’ which is based on findings from 2 of his recent articles.  The seminar is to take place on Friday 17th May in Room 0.1 of the Thomas Paine Study Centre. An abstract for Russell’s seminar can be found below.


Policy analysts and scholars have devoted a great deal of attention in recent years to the roles of the old “natural monopoly” sectors in the economy.  As a result, both privatization and restructuring have been widely implemented, often with the goal of substituting competition for regulation where feasible – for example, in electricity generation, mobile telephony, and above-track railway operations.  This presentation reviews the main questions in these debates and then focuses on the railways sector, where very different reform strategies have been used on the two sides of the Atlantic, and where debates continue especially as one moves further east, with South Korea and Russia two prime examples.  These two countries exhibit two “surprises” for long-term participants in the debate:  1) Perhaps it is possible to create above-track competition in passenger operations, and 2) Perhaps there is an alternative locus for “vertical separation” besides that between trains and tracks.

Further reading:

Russell Pittman, ‘The freight railways of the former Soviet Union, twenty years on: Reforms lose steam’ (2013) 6 Research in Transportation Business & Management 99-115; available via SciVerse ScienceDirect.

Russell Pittman and Sunghee Choi, ‘The Economics of Railways Restructuring in South Korea’ (2013); Working Paper available via SSRN.